Picasso's Drawings, 1890-1921: Reinventing Tradition

Overview

Pablo Picasso (1881-1973) is acknowledged as one of the greatest draftsmen of the 20th century. Picasso's Drawings, 1890-1921 follows the dazzling development of his drawing practice from the precocious academic exercises of his youth to his renewal of classicism in his virtuoso output of the early 1920s. A selection of more than seventy works on paper, with extended entries, highlights his stylistic experiments and techniques during this roughly thirty-year period, which begins and ends in a classical mode ...

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Overview

Pablo Picasso (1881-1973) is acknowledged as one of the greatest draftsmen of the 20th century. Picasso's Drawings, 1890-1921 follows the dazzling development of his drawing practice from the precocious academic exercises of his youth to his renewal of classicism in his virtuoso output of the early 1920s. A selection of more than seventy works on paper, with extended entries, highlights his stylistic experiments and techniques during this roughly thirty-year period, which begins and ends in a classical mode and encompasses his most radical innovations. 

An essay by Susan Grace Galassi provides a detailed study of Picasso's drawing practice and explores his interest in the Old Masters, and Marilyn McCully considers the early critical responses to Picasso's drawings. These discussions of Picasso's style, sources, and techniques demonstrate how drawing served as an essential means of invention and discovery for the artist. This book brings to the fore Picasso's engagement with artists of the past and the ways in which he perpetuated, competed with, and ultimately reinvented the practices of his artistic mentors on his own terms. Through emulation, allusion, dissection, and outright hijacking, Picasso continued the grand tradition of drawing in a revitalized form. This study reveals the extent to which the artist relied on drawing as a means of synthesizing past and present, tradition and innovation, to give his own art a bold and vigorous expression.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
In this survey and discussion of Pablo Picasso's drawings over the first three decades of his career, Galassi and McCully pair insightful commentary with a dazzling selection of work from this period of artistic formulation and invention. The son of artist and teacher José Ruiz Blasco, Picasso showed early promise in his mastery of classical techniques. Even as a student, he "was able to deconstruct the academic method" to create "a new formal language." In their discussion of earlier portraits and studies, such as Portrait of the Artist's Father, the Self Portrait of late 1901/early 1902, and Mother and Child on Shore , Galassi and McCully show the pervasive influence of 19th Century masters such as Ingres and Daumier on the artist. Particularly engrossing are Picasso's drawings and collages between 1910 and 1914, such as Violin and The Cup of Coffee, in which can be seen the development of a "cubist repertoire of abstract shapes, broken up and manipulated to express multiple or ambiguous meaning." During and after WWI, as Cubism became incorporated into the avant-garde, Picasso turned back to a more neo-classical approach, while retaining a "relationship with classical form that is anything but straightforward." As this well written, highly detailed study makes clear, these first three decades of drawings reflect the endless innovation of this 20th century master, who famously quipped: "I don't know if I'm a great painter, but I am a great draftsman." 200 illus.
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Choice - M.M. Hamel-Schwulst

"The research is impeccable and the writing style cogent. Each entry is meticulously documented with fascinating histories, numerous large-format color photographs, and comparative illustrations with notes. . . . Highly recommended."—M.M. Hamel-Schwulst, Choice
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780300170733
  • Publisher: Yale University Press
  • Publication date: 11/29/2011
  • Pages: 224
  • Product dimensions: 9.00 (w) x 11.00 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Meet the Author


Susan Grace Galassi is senior curator at The Frick Collection, New York. Marilyn McCully is an independent scholar who specializes in the work of Picasso.
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